Fresh Homebrew I (Unearthed Arcana Circle of the Shephard fix)

Fresh Homebrew I (Unearthed Arcana Circle of the Shephard fix)

Hey all- Notebook GM here. So this week the talented Jacqueline (contributor to this very site) joined us at the Murrad Test Table – A.K.A. The Tuesday Game. She wanted to be a caster, and had settled on Druid. When I broke down the possible circles for her she loved the idea of the spirit animals in the Circle of the Shephard from Unearthed Arcana (Google it, I don’t know how to hyperlink yet) but when I looked it over it seemed lacking. I hopped over to and read Brandes Stoddard’s review of the release. Him and I agreed it was devoid of both proper flavor and a fitting name.

They didn’t even include sheep.

So, instead of saying “You could do this but it’s bad and you shouldn’t.” I decided to make it (hopefully) good.


Here it is, (hopefully) good.


Circle of the Spirit (UA Circle of The Shephard fix) by The Notebook GM

Shaking an intricately carved stick tied with feathers and leather the Circle of the Spirit Druid moves in a complicated series of steps around a roaring fire. Far from there another converses with the astral forms of ancestral animals, gleaning insights about the movements of distant herds. A devout hermit tends her flock, calling on the spirits of the wild to fend off predators.  Druids that follow the Circle of the Spirit call on the astral forms of animals to aid them in battle and bestow strength in them and their allies. It is said that Druids walking the Circle of the Spirit are always surrounded by unseen spirits, and that the most closely connected are even shielded from death.

Spirit Bond (2nd level)

You are the conduit through which the basic pneuma of the archetypal animal moves. You gain a pool of “Spirit Points” equal to your druid level per day. At second level, as a bonus action, you may call upon the astral form of an animal to aid you or your allies, expending up to one third of these points (rounded up) at once in order to grant one of the following benefits to the recipient. Only allies that you can see and that are within 30ft of you can be affected by your spirit bond power.

Predator Spirit- You call upon the spirit of the Predator to aid an ally in battle, the next time they take the attack action and deal damage they deal an additional 1d6 damage per Spirit Point spent.

Mother Spirit- You call upon the spirit of the Mother to nurture an ally, healing 1d6+1 for each point spent.

Herd Spirit- For each point spent the target gains a +1 bonus to AC versus attacks of opportunity and increases their speed by 5 for 1 minute. 

Tongue of the Totem (2nd level)

Your experience with their astral counterparts has left you uncommonly in tune with the communication patterns of animals. Although most are not intelligent enough to communicate complex ideas, with the proper coaxing you can communicate basic ideas and thoughts with animals. Animals that are already friendly to you, as well as those bribed with food or other treats, will be more willing to assist the druid.

Empower Attributes (6th level)

Starting at sixth level the Circle of the Spirit Druid can use Spirit Points in order to bolster certain attributes. As a bonus action (thank you Mr. Stoddard) you may choose an attribute, for each Spirit Point spent you may grant one target advantage on their next skill check or saving throw using that attribute. This bonus must be used within 10 minutes or it is lost.

Guardian Spirit (10th level)

Through your interactions with the spirits they have become attuned to your life-force, constantly they swirl around you, protecting you in the most harrowing moments. At the end of a long rest you gain the benefit of a Death Ward spell.

Astral Overload (14th level)

The spirits surrounding you explode outwards, disrupting arcane energies in all directions. Once a day you may expend 6 Spirit Points to cast Dispel Magic as an area effect spell targeting all creatures, objects, and zones in a 30ft radius of the Druid. For every 2 points spent over 6 you may regard the spell as having been cast from a spell slot one level higher. Only one effect per target can be removed this way but one character or creature may carry several possible targets.

2 thoughts on “Fresh Homebrew I (Unearthed Arcana Circle of the Shephard fix)

  1. Some questions:

    What kind of action does Empower Attributes require?

    In Astral Overload, what does “but one character or creature may carry several possible targets” mean? Is this about dispelling items they carry? Be aware that as written, this will only affect spells actually cast on those items – a +1 longsword can’t be dispelled, but a longsword with Magic Weapon cast on it can. Just guessing at your intent here, but it sounds like you want a more broad-spectrum Suppress Magic effect that you would need to custom-build. Also, theme here specifies “arcane,” but I don’t know if you mean to restrict that to wizard-like magic or if you mean all spells – since arcane isn’t a technical rules term in 5e.

    Overall I think this is an interesting vision of the Shepherd, suggesting an emphasis on physical beasts in the early levels and shifting toward animistic beast-spirits later on as the druid becomes a steward not just of a grove, but of the whole natural order.

    1. You know, the last time I edited this I opened the document specifically in order to designate Empower Attributes as a bonus action. Great catch.

      I intended it to be Dispel Magic as written, just wanted it to make sure you didn’t have anyone be like “Well the sword isn’t part of my character, it’s the sword” kind of thing. Didn’t specifically mean “arcane” in a mechanical sense, just trying to take you straight to Flavortown.

      Lastly, Spirit Bond is supposed to be a spirit infusion also, I just liked the the idea of different spectral animals doing different stuff but I also hated how 5e picked your animals for you so I wanted to just pick categories.

      Thanks for taking the time!
      -Notebook GM

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